General Question

winblowzxp's avatar

Driving...a right, or a privilege?

Asked by winblowzxp (498points) September 16th, 2008

Many States, to the best of my knowledge, regard driving as a privilege. Many of those opinions date back to the advent of the ‘horseless buggy’. Is it about time that we petition our State governments to change the status of driving from a privilege to a right?

Also, you might accuse me of being a hypocrite since I’m more of a conservative, but if States are going to require a certain amount of auto insurance coverage, shouldn’t they provide the option of publicly funded minimum coverage to their residents?

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20 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I spent 20 minutes today on a wooded hilly and curvy rural road; one lane each way. The driver in front of me was in the wrong lane half of the time as he snaked his way down. It was 10 AM and he looked old; I almost took his license plate number and called the State Police. If someone had been coming from the other direction around a blind turn, there might have been a serious accident.

Yearly here there are too many fatal accidents involving teen-aged drivers who are drunk. A car is potentially a lethal weapon. All states require a written and road test in order to obtain license. I don’t see that as a political issue but a safety one.

Ask second question separately. Too confusing.

JackAdams's avatar

A privilege, which can be revoked/suspended at any time, “for cause.”

sarapnsc's avatar

A privilege, thank goodness, or else we would never get the reckless drivers off the roads.

blastfamy's avatar

mass transit being what it is…

in all but extreme cases, driving a personal vehicle is a privilege.

srmorgan's avatar

It is a privilege, not a right.
Taking a 4,000 LB vehicle traveling at dozen of feet per second and putting in the hands of anyone who wants to use it, regardless or skill level or training or knowledge of traffic laws is just plain dangerous.

From your perspective, anyone, anyone, 14, 83, 105, years of age, anyone could simply get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle with no level of expertise, turn the ignition and ease themselves into traffic and leave the rest to chance.
Not smart.

As to your question regarding having the individual States offer auto insurance coverage at the minimum level of insurance required by statue is not a bad idea and I am certain it has been raised somewhere in the last few decades but I could not cite any authority on this.
I do know that the Provinces of Ontario and British Columbia have some type no-fault insurance underwritten by the Provincial government but I again my knowledge is somewhat anecdotal and not very deep.

Just to add something else here, in most states an employer is required to purchase worker’s compensation insurance in the private market. However in Ohio there is a state-funded worker’s compensation fund that small employers can subscribe to at what is really a minimal cost. It works for my company because we have never had more than one employee in Ohio at any one time and the cost was quite reasonable compared to the cost of similar private insurance in States like Illinois or California where the cost of insuring one employee can be upwards of $800 per year.


wundayatta's avatar

The public builds the roads, and public has the interest in regulating who gets to drive. I don’t want drunks, reckless folks, speed demons, kids, or any other kind of driver who creates dangers for others to be on the road. Driving is a privilege.

If you want it to be a right, take it off public property. Even then, I’m not sure I want you driving dangerously. You still might hurt others in a more indirect fashion.

marinelife's avatar

I am so grateful every time I get in my car that it is a privilege and that it is regulated. It gives me a minimally greater sense of safety.

PupnTaco's avatar

A right hahahahaha (wipes tear)

Hooo that’s a good one. A real knee-slapper.

winblowzxp's avatar

Rights are regulated too. Look at the 2nd Amendment. You still have to go through a bunch of red tape and high costs, to get machine guns/destructive devices/suppressors.

I’m not saying let a 5 year old get behind the wheel.

There are quite a few cities that don’t have a mass-transit system. I live in the Dallas area, and in the city where I live, each time mass-transit has been on the ballot, it got shot down each time.

The topic came up because I’ve recently been made aware that the State of Texas, in which I reside, has been suspending/revoking people’s licenses under the Driver Responsibility Act, and I saw one letter from the DoT that only mentioned that driving was a privilege.

Considering how far a vast majority of us commute to work/school, it seems that another look should be taken, and that driving shouldn’t be a privilige, but a right…guaranteed by the 9th Amendment.

That brings me to another question, which I’ll post separately.

Bri_L's avatar

@ winblowzxp – what were some of the reasons they were suspending the licenses?

I believe it is a privilege. No question. When you control something that can do what a car can do to others.

gailcalled's avatar

@winb: What about the very old who start having trouble seeing, hearing and remembering. Often it takes a village to pry the car keys out of their hands. No public transport here except John’s taxi (John is both owner and driver) but there are lots of networks thru the churches and friends and neighbors who are willing to help. One advantage of living in a town where “eveyone knows your name.”

winblowzxp's avatar

@Bri: They wouldn’t give reasons, half the time the driver was never informed. They didn’t find out that their license was revoked/suspended until they either were stopped by police or when they went to renew their license.

@gail: Regulation can include age restrictions. I’ll use my 2nd Amendment example above: You can’t buy a rifle/shotgun if you’re under 18 and you can’t buy a handgun if you’re under 21.

I think that the regard of it as a privilege opens the doors for the State to take your license with a paper thin reason, if they give you one, and not be required to make sure you’re informed about it. I know that vehicles are more dangerous than guns, but guns are more heavily regulated than cars, and it’s a guaranteed right, I’m not saying no regulation on driving, just making it a bit more difficult for the State to screw with you.

Bri_L's avatar

windblowzxp : thanks I was just wondering.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Privilege and i think after a certain age you should have to retake your test.

The lady that caused my accident was 76 years old and made a left turn from the right lane. After the accident occurred she told me its impossible that she cut me off because she saw my truck in front of her. I really dont want people like this driving. Now im out of work and my back and neck is all screwed up because this lady wanted gas on the left side of the road that was ONE GOD DAMN PENNY cheaper than on the right. – _ -

winblowzxp's avatar

@uber: I see that kind of stuff all the time, from people of all ages, maybe not as much on city streets, but I’ve seen an unmentionable number of people of all ages cut across 3,4, sometimes 5 lanes of traffic on the highway to get to an exit. Then again, you have people like my 72 year old father, who way more considerate on the roads than I am. But I agree, that folks >75 should have to retake the driving test.

gooch's avatar

Privilege for sure. 43,300 Americans die each year and another 2,600,000 are injured in vehicle crashes each year. Can you imagine if we regulated this less. Privileges come with responsibility or you loose them.

winblowzxp's avatar

Just becuase something isn’t a privilege doesn’t mean that it can’t be regluated. Again, look to the 2nd Amendment.

FrancisRude's avatar

According to DMV, driving is a priviledge.

jvgr's avatar

No and No.
The ability to be in control of a ton of metal moving at 120mph is not a right and should never be.

You do not want publicly funded auto insurance. I live in BC (public insurance) but lived in Alberta for a few years (private insurance). In BC I pay more than 2x what I paid in Alberta. Plus with one insurance company, there is a lot of effort put in to trying to make both parties in a two party accident liable which limits the insurance companies payout. With private insurance companies somebody has to pay and they have to fight it out among themselves.I’m not a consverative.

winblowzxp's avatar

I’m not saying to move it totally to public insurance. If your state says $5k of liability, then that’s what it provides, and nothing more. If you want more, then you get it somewhere else.

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